Question: I live in New Mexico and my parents live in California. Whenever they need help after a fall or surgery, I am so willing to help and stay with them. I have a step-brother in Ohio who makes great efforts to help as well. My husband and I would like to semi-retire and sail along the western coast and north for a couple of years - but I feel guilty leaving and not being available to help if necessary. My mom and stepdad are very special to me. My mom and I have been very close as friends most of my life so it is not that I do not want to be with her, I enjoy her company. But I do not want to pass on this opportunity and am conflicted. My daughter and granddaughter are living with us now so there is also that situation as well. Any suggestions?
Dr. Amy: You love your parents and want to be there for them. On the other hand, you and your husband would like to travel and enjoy life while you are still relatively young and healthy. Can you do both? The following questions may help you make your decision:
After you've answered these tactical questions and thought creatively about the possibilities, you need to think about what you want to be able to say about your decisions 10 years from now. If something were to happen to your parents while you were traveling and you couldn't get back in time, how would you feel? How would you feel if you gave up on your trip and your parents stayed healthy for the next 10 years? You face a difficult decision. Explore these questions carefully with your husband because, when you look back on this, you need to be comfortable with whichever decision you make.
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